Kudos to Darryl Plecas, newly appointed Speaker of the BC Legislature, for being a man of courage, conviction – and possibly, of high integrity. Only Mr. Plecas’ constituents should be allowed to decide the latter.
BC Liberals (no one’s definition of paragons of integrity) released a statement saying “Constituents must be able to trust their elected representatives,” it said. “Party members must be able to trust those who hold positions of leadership in the party. And members of the legislature must be able to trust one another.”
As usual, the BC ‘Party of Entitlement’ (and the Party coming under increasing scrutiny for questionable ethical practices and self-serving greed at taxpayer’s expense) has told only part of the story.
Constituents must be able to trust their elected representatives. Complete agreement. Full stop. End of story.
The matter of ‘Party members must be able to trust those who hold positions of leadership in the party. And members of the legislature must be able to trust one another.’ is another matter entirely. Idealistic, but definitely not based in fact.
The BC Liberals have just exposed the fatal flaw in the myth that it is ‘the Party’ that constituents and voters elect to the legislature. It has long been the contention of many that the voters in any constituency vote for a ‘trustee’ or steward to represent first and foremost the constituency’s best interests in the legislature. The political party affiliation is an overlay that helps voters determine the predisposition of the elected representative when pursuing policies and creating legislation in accordance with values and stated intentions.
It is the totalitarian nature of political parties to attempt to wrest control of the elected representative from the electors and to try to replace the voter’s best interests with the self-serving interests of the political party – and that party’s benefactors.
Caucus is the formal vehicle for that process. Party whips (thugs and bullies) are entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring a legislator’s loyalty is firstly to the Party. Free votes and allowing party members to ‘vote their conscience’ have almost become a novelty – exceptions rather than the norm. Party loyalty is professed by political party elites to supersede loyalty to the very voter who elects the MLA.
This utter nonsense has been exposed by a courageous and intelligent Darryl Plecas who recognized that the business of governing BC, of debating and enacting legislation and of serving the people of BC was far more important than party loyalty.
The whiners and thugs within established political party structures are unsurprisingly critical of Mr. Plecas’s decision. Self-declared ‘leaders’ of political parties rarely allow MLA’s to exercise self-determination and independent thought. Extreme internal pressure is exerted to show ‘solidarity’ and the best interests of voters are often put on the back burner in order to further the Party’s bias and doctrine.
Recently, Mr. Plecas was the only Liberal MLA who dared to speak the truth concerning the status of departed ex-Premier Christy Clark. Intelligent people of all political persuasions knew it was virtually impossible for Clark to claim the myth of ‘universal and total’ caucus support within the BC Liberal Party. Only Darryl Plecas had the integrity and courage to expose that obvious lie. Other Liberal MLA’s should be ashamed of themselves for putting the self-serving interests of the BC Libs before the truth.
It is no wonder that public opinion concerning integrity and honour of elected politicians continues to diminish in the eyes of astute, increasingly cynical voters.
I have little doubt that Mr. Plecas was subject to immense pressure from the self-serving BC Liberal elite before his monumental decision to seek the Speaker’s important role in the BC legislature.
Now, Mr. Plecas has been ostracized by the Liberals, shunned and ‘thrown out’ of caucus. The silver lining? Mr. Plecas will now serve his constituents as an independent, rather than as a Liberal.
Do I think that Mr. Plecas did the right thing according to the voters who elected him? The fact is that Mr. Plecas must have that conversation with those voters, himself. It is not for me to judge. It is only marginally more appropriate for the Liberal Caucus to judge.
The ‘Swamp must be drained’. The absolute power and control of established political parties must be broken. Power (and the thirst for power) corrupts. Corruption within political parties grows at an alarming rate.
Is there a way to restore integrity and accountability within the existing political status quo?
Elect legislators whose loyalty and accountability is first, and foremost, to the voters who elect them.
Elect legislators whose loyalty and accountability is second to their own consciences and personal code of ethics.
Elect legislators whose loyalty and accountability is lastly to their political parties.
Darryl Plecas is now an independent MLA, accountable first to his voters and second, to his conscience.
That is the way it should be. BC Liberal Party be damned.
Congratulations to Darryl Plecas, MLA, for putting his constituents and his conscience ahead of the self-serving interests of the BC Liberal Party.
To find other MLA’s with the courage, conviction and personal integrity to do the same.